I remember when my now grown daughter was three years old. I took her to a playground and she was playing in the sandbox. Up comes a little boy who plops down next to her. My daughter, at three years old, says “hello my friend.” The two of them now start exploring the sand and how to build shapes in it. She would try one way and he would watch. Then he would try a different way and she would watch. They participated in their environment. They experimented. They failed. They tried again a different way. They laughed together. They created different shapes, sizes, and formations. They created their environment together. They created meaning in their environment together. They assessed “success” together by what make them laugh and smile together. They learn.
So, this weekend I was talking with my 16-year old nephew about what life is like as a high school Junior these days. Apparently, at least for him, it hasn’t changed much since I was in high school. The kids sit in class while the teacher “tells” of “teaches” them “knowledge.” They sit there and listen. They don’t participate. The creativity in them that was so natural to them as little kids has been “educated” out of them. They are rewarded for parroting what the teacher says. They view tests was “punishment” because all it tells them is “right or wrong” without giving them context. They dump whatever they “learned” right after the test to get cram for the next subject’s test. Do they learn? Sure they learn. Do they learn as much as they could learn? No.
We must change how we look at “education.” We must change how we “educate” our current and future generations. Please, don’t get me wrong. The “old” way got us to the moon and back. Yet with today’s rapid speed of change in business, technology, and culture; we must look at what our “learners” need to succeed today. We, as learning professionals, must be willing to be creative in our interventions, design, solutions, approaches, and use of technology. We must set a new and higher bar of expectations for our learners. We must become partners with them in their learning solutions. We must help them understand what success is in the context that they need. We must be willing to stand up and be creative again.
Okay, shoot back.